By: Mona Wade
As a member of the Work/Life Committee, I have listened to dozens of conversations about the generational mindsets and how the gap makes our work life difficult. By definition, I am a Baby Boomer. Today, I had a conversation with a Millennial. Today the light bulb came on for me. As a Boomer, I do not want to be constantly connected to work—we have trouble knowing when to “turn it off.” The Millennial said, “I want to be connected, I know when to say no.” I think for the first time, I saw how the thought process works differently. As Boomers, we think because work is accessible, we should check it, work on it, reply to it. Technology is both a blessing and a curse to us. Millennials realize they are in charge of what they do and when they do it. I was impressed and surprised.
It made me realize that as management, we need to step back and attempt to see things from a Millennial’s perspective. Just because we may not know when to say no, that doesn’t mean they don’t. Just like they grew up with technology, they grew up putting it into its proper place in their lives. Are there extremes? Yes! And there are extremes in every generation. Many Boomers are workaholics because of the way they were raised. Some Millennials would rather play video games than work, but it doesn’t mean all Millennials are at work playing games.
It takes a certain type of personality to be a CPA. I think we need to trust the personality of the Millennials will shine through and prove Boomers may be reacting based on their ideas and experience, and not on the abilities and personalities of Millennials (at least until or unless they prove the theory wrong).
Just a thought, but maybe we (Boomers) should take a step back and allow Millennials to help us help them unfold their future based on their hopes and dreams—not ours. What I saw today and what I have seen from a couple of Millennials I’ve had the privilege to work with during the last few months gave me new hope in the future of the accounting profession. I think we should listen to the younger generation’s ideas and see if we can find a way to meet in the middle (or maybe even a little towards their side). Our skill and our experience can help them find answers and to gain skills, just as their technology skills and their view of the future can help us begin to build an exit strategy that works for us and for them. It is the future—theirs and ours—I think we should work on it together.
Mona Wade, CPA works with Carol L King & Associates, PA in Asheville, NC as Tax Manager. She has many years experience working with regional firms in North Carolina, Louisiana and Florida. Mona graduated from Troy University with a Bachelors (summa cum laude) and a Masters of Science in Management. She resides with her Yorkie, Max in the Asheville area and enjoys biking, horseback riding, reading and enjoying the great North Carolina scenery with friends.